MEPS 240:71-83 (2002)  -  doi:10.3354/meps240071

Oceanographic settings explain fluctuations in Dinophysis spp. and concentrations of diarrhetic shellfish toxin in the plankton community within a mussel farm area on the Swedish west coast

Anna Godhe1,*, Susanne Svensson2, Ann-Sofi Rehnstam-Holm3

1Marine Botany, Department of Marine Ecology, Göteborg University, Box 461, 405 30 Göteborg, Sweden
2Department of Zoophysiology, Göteborg University, Box 463, 405 30 Göteborg, Sweden
3Clinical Bacteriology, Göteborg University, Guldhedsgatan 10, 413 46 Göteborg, Sweden

ABSTRACT: The influence of hydrographic, biological and meteorological variables on the abundance of Dinophysis spp. and the concentration of diarrhetic shellfish toxin (DST) in the plankton population were investigated in a mussel (Mytilus edulis) farm area on the Swedish west coast. This location provided an opportunity to simultaneously compare Dinophysis spp. cell numbers, concentration of DST in natural phytoplankton assemblages and toxicity of mussel tissues. Sampling was performed every other day from October 10 to November 5, 2000, and on each occasion, 5 randomly selected sites were sampled. During this period, 3 distinct water masses passed through the vicinity of the mussel farm. The second water mass, characterized by low salinity and nitrogen concentration, was probably advected into the area from surface waters in the nearby Skagerrak. This low salinity water also contained a high abundance of Dinophysis spp., and high concentrations of DST were recorded in the phytoplankton population. Multivariate analysis (projection to latent structures by means of partial least squares, PLS) determined that the principal variables influencing the concentration of DST in the plankton assemblage were the causative species (D. acuminata, D. acuta and D. norvegica) and salinity. The abundance of the 3 Dinophysis spp. was inversely correlated to salinity. A rapid increase in the toxicity of mussels in response to the high levels of DST was observed. The concentration of DST had doubled within 2 d of the appearance of Dinophysis spp. After 8 d, the water mass containing Dinophysis spp. was replaced and cell numbers again returned to low levels. The concentration of DST in the phytoplankton samples remained high for another 2 d after the number of Dinophysis spp. had declined and the toxicity of mussels continued to be high for the remainder of the study. Causes of the rapid intoxication versus slow detoxification of mussels are discussed. These results suggest that present monitoring programs are insufficient to provide early warning of toxic blooms to aquaculturists on the Swedish west coast.

KEY WORDS: Diarrhetic shellfish toxin · DST · Dinophysis spp. · Mytilus edulis · Skagerrak · Environmental variables · PLS

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